Searching for Security
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)
Sand shifts. Sand is not secure. I spent years building my life on sand. My building materials included relationships that validated me, opportunities to serve and be recognized for my service, and a bank account that was going up not down. I thought these things would provide the security required for a good life.
Then the rains started to fall. A relationship that once brought me laughter and joy and a sense of purpose shifted and I felt invalidated. This storyline played out more than once, as I looked to other people to confirm my worth and purpose.
The rains intensified when we moved away from the place where I had worked and served in the community. Where I was known.
Still, I held on to some sense of security. My husband, perhaps the hardest-working man I know, had been rewarded by his company with a big promotion. Our bank account and our retirement account were heading in the right direction.
Then the flood waters came. In the aftermath of 9-11, my husband felt called to a radical career change. He left the company where he worked for the first 17 years of our marriage, to pursue a job as a college football coach. He left with a severance package, but no job. To me, no job meant no security.
Friends, I battled this insecurity as I was following Jesus. He was my eternal security. But I was so confused about whose job it was to provide in the here and now. I had built my house on sand and it was starting to fall. I had put my trust in Jesus for my salvation and in other things for my day-to-day security.
Now, God was providentially ordering my circumstances to give me the opportunity to trust him for all things. After four months of job searching with no job in sight, I worried that maybe my husband was mistaken about his “call” to coach. After getting the children to school, I stopped at the grocery store. Walking up and down the aisles, I rehearsed the speech I planned to deliver to my husband when I got home. It was time for him to broaden his job search.
My thoughts were interrupted by a woman who approached me in the checkout lane. She wanted to thank me for allowing my husband to serve as a volunteer coach in our community that fall. She said he had made a difference in her son’s life. God used her to shift my thinking and to keep me from delivering my well-rehearsed speech. Looking back eighteen years later, I am amazed by God’s faithfulness considering my lack of faith.
About two weeks later, God provided a college coaching job for my husband. Nothing short of miraculous! But we were taking a 70% cut in pay and moving from a suburb of New York to a small town in Virginia. I was worried about all the things. Selling our house, how my children would adjust to our new life and still had lingering doubts about whether God was really ordering our steps.
When we placed our home on the market, I prayed specifically that God would confirm that we were making the right decision by allowing us to quickly get an offer on our house---and that it would be a good offer. I also prayed for the buyers to have “boys” since there were mostly girls in our neighborhood and the boys next door were sad that my boys were moving away. Our home sold in one day for 38K over asking price. Thirty-eight was my husband’s college football number! And the buyers had two boys close is age to the boys next door. There have been times when others have I have unduly praised me for supporting my husband in this crazy transition. In truth, I was reluctantly following the voice of God as he spoke to me through people and circumstances.
I was rebuilding my house on the rock---learning to hear and follow his voice.
We have moved eight times since my husband became “coach.” These words of Oswald Chambers have become personal to me: “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason— a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.”
Our journey has not been easy, but it has been good. God has always been faithful. So, like David, “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:3 (ESV)